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Ancient Millet Discovery Sheds Light on Slovenia’s Prehistoric Agriculture

Discoveries at a Slovenian archaeological site reveal millet grains dating back to 1300-1200 BC, the oldest found in the country, offering new insights into ancient agriculture

Archaeological digs in Slovenia’s Koroška region have unearthed millet grains dating back to 1300-1200 BC, marking the oldest such find in the country. The discovery was made on Pigl Hill near the Javornik Mansion in Ravne na Koroškem, identified as part of the region’s earliest known settlement.

The find, described by archaeologist Saša Djura Jelenko as akin to “winning the lottery,” came during the latest excavation phase from 2021 to 2023, ahead of new construction near the Javornik Mansion. Analysis in a lab, followed by radiocarbon dating at the Poznan Radiocarbon Laboratory in Poland, confirmed the age of the grains, with previous finds in Slovenia only dating back to 900-1000 years BC.

This significant find, comprising ten charred grains, is now housed at the Archaeology Institute, alongside records of the country’s ancient grains. While this discovery is currently the oldest in Slovenia, archaeobotanist Tjaša Tolar noted that older samples might be unearthed in the future, given the historical findings in neighboring regions.

The excavation also revealed that the prehistoric inhabitants cultivated wheat and barley, offering new insights into the agricultural practices of the time and contributing to a deeper understanding of Slovenia’s ancient history.

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